Veterans Are Special!

Posted on

Each year our school honors the courage and bravery of the veterans in our community.  Community members who are veterans, as well as school family members, are invited to attend a ceremony the day before Veteran’s Day.  We have the Apache Junction NJROTC Drill Team perform, a special speaker to talk to students, and a skit.  Many of our students have family members who were in one of the five branches of the military so making sure we make it a special day is important.

Take a look!

Do you have a family member or friend who is or was in one of the branches of military?  



Tell us something about what they did.

The Superstitions: Home to Many

Posted on

Did you know our community once was the home of several Native American tribes?  My name is Peta, and I would like to tell you some information about some Native Americans that lived in our area of Apache Junction.


Some of these tribes were the Apache tribe, the Hohokam tribe, the Salado tribe, and the Pima tribe.  These tribes all lived in our area.  The Apache and Pima are still in our area, but the Salado and the Hohokam are not because they are ancient tribes.  We know they lived in our area because people have found pieces of jewelry, hunting tools, petroglyphs, and pottery.  “The petroglyphs are figures of people and animals,” said Jim Swanson, a local historian who volunteers at Superstition Mountain Museum.  Jim Swanson allowed me to interview him about the history of the Native Americans in our area.  He also said that the Native Americans used petroglyphs to tell stories and remember historical events.  

The Native Americans used petroglyphs to tell their stories.  

Today, what do we use to tell our stories?


Taking a Look Back…Field Trip Time!

Posted on

When school memories come to mind one of the best memories is the school field trip.  Take a trip down memory lane with the third graders in our class and see what we learned at the Superstition Mountain Museum.

Third Grade Field Trip – Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires

Do you remember a field trip you have been on?

What would be the best field trip you could ever be part of?

Holiday Card Exchange 2014

Posted on

One popular holiday tradition is to send cards to friends and families.  Our class was able to participate in this tradition through Projects by Jen’s Holiday Card Exchange.  We created our own cards with this year’s theme being “Lights” and then sent them to more than 20 different states and provinces in United States and Canada.

Opening a card from Canada.

Once we addressed all of our cards and mailed them, we sat backed and waited for our cards to arrive.  It was so exciting each day to have three or four arrive in the mail.  We eagerly awaited the opening and reading of the cards.  One interesting detail that was included in each card was the average temperature in December for the school the card came from.  Our lowest average temperature was 5 degrees Fahrenheit from a city in North Dakota and the highest average temperature was from a school in Florida with 70 degrees Fahrenheit.  Our average temperature for our city was 67 degrees Fahrenheit.   Mrs. Fraher was so glad we didn’t have the 5 degrees!  Take a look at our process from creating the cards to receiving them.

Holiday Card Exchange

Did you send holiday cards this year?  If so, what type of card was it?  Take our poll below.

Community Cares

Posted on

Our school, Desert Vista Elementary, is fortunate to have many community members that support the learning in our school by volunteering time and resources.  Below is just a few instances that show how much people in our community care about students and their learning.  Thank you to all of those who show their caring and dedication to our school.

Read to Me

Mayor Insalaco, the Mayor of Apache Junction, came to our class to read to us.  We happened to be digging into folktales and fables, so he read to us Pecos Bill, a tale about a boy who was raised by coyotes.  The mayor often volunteers his time to read to the students that attend an Apache Junction school.

He then spent some time letting us ask questions.  We found out something very interesting.  He was once bit by a rattlesnake.  He even showed us the two fang marks that was left as a scar.

The Rotary Club of superstition mountain

Each year the Rotary Club of superstition mountain provides our school with dictionaries.  Every child in third grade gets one.  They take time out of their busy schedule to spend some time with us talking about the dictionary and doing some fun activities using the dictionary.  Mrs. Fraher is so thankful that we have these.  The cool thing about these dictionaries is that they have other interesting things in the back.  Some of those things are: the world’s longest word, facts about states and countries, math information, and maps.  We can use these dictionaries for more than just looking up words!

Digging into Dictionaries – Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires

 Bunny and Nell


There are two very kind women who have donated money to several of the classes at our school.  These women aren’t wealthy, they just care and want to help where they can.  There names are Bunny and Nell.  This year, Bunny and Nell donated $100 to our class for a project.  Mrs. Fraher was so excited.  She had just the project for us to do.  You will have to stay tuned to this blog to find out what the project is.  The suspense is killing us!

Project Hummer watch


we have a garden outside our classroom that attracts hummingbirds and other birds using feeders and plants that draw hummingbirds.  This garden would not have been possible without the help of so many community members and businesses.  A wonderful parent,  Heather Harter, worked hard to get The plants donated by local nurseries.    below is a list of those businesses.

Target                   Shady Way Nursery                      Home Depot
BEST Hardware     Apache Landscape                         Moon Valley
ACE Hardware

Have you had someone do something kind or generous for you?  If so, what was it?


The Sound of Music

Posted on

The halls were filled with the sound of music…violin music, that is!  Our class had a unique privilege this last week to listen to Tricia Park and Taylor Morris play the violin for us.  So, how did we luck out and get to have them come and play for us?  Well, Taylor Morris is really good friends with one of the parents in our class.  Talk about knowing people in the right places!

Our class with the famous violinists, Tricia Park and Taylor Morris.

Our class with the famous violinists, Tricia Park and Taylor Morris.

Their presentation was so entertaining and informative for the students.  

Take a look:

Violin Visit from GFraher on Vimeo.

One of the great things about their visit was that we were learning about fables the same week they visited.  Without knowing this, they played Peter and the Wolf written by Sergei Prokofiev.  This provided a great connection between the text and the world for us.  An interesting facts about Sergei Prokofiev is that he also wrote the composition for Cinderella and Romeo and Juliet.

Afterwards, we wrote thank you cards for them.  They enjoyed reading them and even posted a picture of them on Facebook.

thank you cards


Do you know the difference between a fiddle and a violin?  

What is your favorite instrument to listen to?

An American Symbol Soars Into Our Learning

Posted on

We are always on the lookout for a good way to collaborate and learn new things.  Just sit back, get comfy, and listen to what we have been experiencing the last few days.  It’ll knock your red, white, and blue socks off!

Our class is very interested in all things involving our country. We are all wearing our patriotic colors to show our pride in the United States.

It all started with an email Miss Hall, our speech teacher, sent us because she knows how much we love technology and birds.  The email contained a site that provides live cameras on different animals.  This happened to contain a link to a live camera on a bald eagle nest in Tennessee!  So, we jumped on right away and were instantly caught up in the life of Franklin, Frank for short, and Indy (Independence).  Frank and Indy are non-release eagles who are currently caring for two baby eagles.  Franklin and Independence are in their 20’s and have been together since 2000.  They have had 29 eaglets together. 

Bet you are wanting to see them, huh?  In a little bit…

No, this isn’t Indy or Frank but it is a bald eagle who loves the USA!

We had so many questions!  Mrs. Fraher noticed a chat going on next to the live feed and she asked if we could jump in and ask questions.  The people in the chat were so nice to let us spend some time asking all about these two eagles.  We had to take turns asking the questions.  They sent us a whole bunch of links and pictures to use.  Here is what we learned:

So, you see how much we learned.  To learn more about the eagles and American Eagle Foundation click on the words.  We think it is so important to be aware that humans are the biggest threat to eagles and many other species.  Our carelessness and lack of information is harmful to the animals in which we share the earth.

After learning about the eagle and keeping it safe, what do you think you could do to help protect these majestic birds?

Why do you think the eagles were named Franklin and Independence?



Spreading Christmas Cheer

Posted on

What did you do this holiday season to show a “giving” spirit instead of a “getting” spirit?

Our class had an excellent opportunity to live out the saying, “It is better to give than to receive.”  With the Christmas season, came the feeling that we wanted to make others happy.  Two groups of people came to mind:  the residents of the Aurora House Assisted Living Home and the staff members at our school, Peralta Trail Elementary.

So, with a donation of cookie dough by a parent and Mr. Blomgren, our principal, we set out to bake cookies and create our own Christmas cards to give out to the teacher’s on Friday.

Then on Saturday, many of us met at Aurora House to share the cookies, some holiday cheer, and family traditions.  When we left, there was a feeling of well-being because we knew that we had put others first.

Take a look at what we did:

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow
Create your own slideshow - Powered by Smilebox
This free picture slideshow made with Smilebox

Desert Teachers!

Posted on

We are so excited to become desert teachers for Mrs. Spasic’s class in Indiana.  You might be thinking how are we going to teach a class in Indiana if we are in Arizona?  Well, we are going to Skype with each other.

Like any good teacher we will have to learn about our topic.  Some of us will be teaching about a certain desert animal and the others will teach about a type of desert plant.

Doing a little bit of research using our Netbooks.

As you know research can be kind of tricky when you are a kid.  Some of the sites are too hard to read for eight year olds and the others may not have safe content.  So, Mrs. Fraher uses Symbaloo to help us target our research to sites that are appropriate for us to learn.  

Have you ever used Symbaloo?

Here is the link she put together for us to use to gather our research.  We will read through the information and fill out a graphic organizer.  




Digital Citizenship

Posted on

guest post by Tracy Watanabe


Today we talked about digital citizenship and Internet safety. We talked about being members of our physical community and members of a digital community. In both communities, we have expectations for being a good citizen and being safe.

Some of the safety and citizenship expectations students knew were:

  1. Keep your personal information safe, such as your full name, address, phone number, etc.
  2. Don’t post or comment about where people can find you. For example, don’t share that you will be at soccer practice from 7:00-8:00 tonight at the park.
  3. Be respectful and polite online.
  4. Since blog comments are like friendly letters, we should follow the friendly letter format.
What’s our next step?
  1. Watch a BrainPOP Online Safety video to see what we can add to our list.
  2. Visit one of these blogs and decide how well they follow Internet safety and digital citizenship rules:

What do you think we should add to our Internet Safety and Digital Citizenship expectations?

What did you notice/learn from investigating the above blogs?

What have you learned from this discussion/post, and what questions do you still have?